Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for Changeling by Matt Wesolowski. My thanks to the author, to Anne Cater and publisher Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour. No guestpost today because I’m so excited about this book you’re getting a book review. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!
On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.
Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.
Oh how long I’ve been dying to tell everyone how much I LOVED this book! I was already a fan of the Six Stories series since I discovered the first novel (ICYMI here’s my review of #1 Six Stories and #2 Hydra) and I knew this would be good but let me tell you this one’s really criminally good.
Changeling was bold, unrelenting and without a doubt my SCARIEST READ EVER. The novel is only 173 pages long but that was more than enough to really rattle me.
I seriously love novels with stories drenched in legend and folklore and Changeling made optimal use of this. I’m actually not superstitious so I made the assumption this story wouldn’t get to me but I assure you that even when you don’t believe, this book will get under your skin. After the spooky forest in Six Stories, the author amped it up another notch by introducing mysterious black-eyed children who come knocking on your door in Hydra. This time he was on such a roll with his descriptions of Wentshire Forest, it gave me goosebumps, made me question everything and scared me so much more than I expected. If you want the full experience you should read it at night, I dare you! As usual I read a little before bedtime and I think I was awake half the night, hearing all kinds of sounds and thinking about what could possibly be going on, wondering about the truth of that forest where strange things occured during construction of some holiday cottages. Is it haunted and was Alfie taken by *dare I even say this out loud* forest fairies? Did the father kill his son? The story and what was happening in the past and the present was so intriguing it made my head hurt thinking about it.
When I finished reading the novel I just sat there, staring into the distance with a major book hangover. I can best describe the whole experience as going into a horror house, you’re scared and all but once you’ve left all you can think is I want to do it again. Well it’s the same here! Changeling was incredibly atmospheric, and involved a brilliant plotline that really delivered in the end. This is a novel that I’ll recommend to everyone over and over again, and I can’t wait to read another cold case podcast.
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
*** Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour ***